By 10 a.m., crowds had jammed every available inch in the old House caucus room. Motion-picture and television cameras stood tripod to tripod, electrical cables matted the floor like jungle vines. Both crowds and cameramen had come with a single purpose: to watch James Caesar Petrillo, the union boss of all U.S. musicians, dropped into the legislative meat grinder and publicly reduced to scrapple.

The House Education and Labor Committee was in a bitter and bilious mood. Its members had spent six days investigating Petrillo's practices. They had heard the big men of the record business deplore his...

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